Steven Greenhut on Crony Capitalism and the Housing Crisis

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Credit: JG Tax Group / Foter.com / CC BY

In California, government officials are pursuing a murky deal to "solve" the housing crisis by marrying government power with private enrichment. As Steven Greenhut explains, those officials would use eminent domain — i.e., the power to take property by force, upon the payment of "fair compensation" to the owner — to wrest control of hundreds of mortgages held by private-equity firms. They're not taking the actual property, mind you, but grabbing the notes held by those who financed the homes. Advocates see it as a way to halt foreclosures, but critics rightly point out that the deal is financed on the backs of taxpayers and is an abuse of government power to boot.

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